By Alex Gonzalez
The election on Tuesday in Texas for a Constitutional Amendment showed why a governing Republican model has made Texas a model, or a conservative Red State Model. Proposition 6, which takes $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for use in financing water projects around the state, passed with no problem; Less than 10 percent of the state’s 254 counties voted against the proposal. But, this was a proposition that Republican legislators in Austin passed even though tea party groups, who see any type of investment in infrastructure and education as waste, overwhelmingly opposed it. Moreover, Prop 6 was openly supported by Gov. Rick Perry.
As a result, even in the most conservative counties like Tarrant and Denton–where tea party groups have a strong presence- -more than 70% of voters approved Prop. In fact, when it came to the support of Prop 6, there was no difference between EL Paso and Tarrant counties, since both counties voted for the Amendment by the same margin, 3 to 1. Therefore, what the outcome of Tuesday’s election shows is that Republicans in Texas have real economic objectives that are attractive to all voters, a goal that goes beyond purely rhetorical arguments pushed by some “conservative” groups in the state.
The table below shows how counties with the highest numbers of registered voters overwhelmingly favored Prop 6; the table also shows turnout in theses counties. Harris County alone provided with about 20% of the votes in favor.
The politics of tea partiers in Texas is opposition to any bills that has to do with funding for education, healthcare and investment in infrastructure in the state, as it was the case during the 83rd Texas Legislature Session. For instance, most tea party groups in Texas opposed the $3.4 billion re-funding for public education, the “Water Bill”, and funds for infrastructure. But as Pew Center shows, tea partiers are “older and whiter,” and that may be the reason why tea partiers in Texas oppose any thing that has to do with education and infrastructure investment for future generations.
But, Republicans in the Texas legislature understand that this opposition to education or any infrastructure is pure ideological lacking serious policy direction; so Republican legislators in Austin passed spending bills on education, water, and infrastructure since they understand the state in reality needs to invest in the future and the growing population–as it was the argument made by Gov. Perry–in the state infrastructure that is transitioning from a rural to a suburban state, even if that irks tea party groups and the libertarian Texas Public Policy Foundation that also opposed funding for infrastructure and the so-called “water bill.”
Thus, unlike Republicans in Congress who lack a governing mantra, Republican legislators in Texas–under the leadership of Gov. Perry and Speaker Joe Straus–do perform their jobs and legislate. In other words, Republicans have passed bills that are good for the state economy and infrastructure and education; they have serious goals of revamping the old state infrastructure while keeping low taxes mantra; they understand the population and the growth of the state economy requires real governing leadership.
This governing style is the core of the Red Model. This is Proactive conservative model of governing policies, that thanks the Governor and Speaker Straus, who exerts the power over small tea party groups, makes the Texas Model works because they bring the choice to all voter in the state. Perhaps this what Republican in Congress can learn from Republicans in Texas, lead with real governing mantra rather hat wasting time in purely ideology intra political bickering.
Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote! He received a Bachelors Degree and a Masters’ Degree, with emphasis in American politics, from San Francisco State University. comments to firstname.lastname@example.org